XFL NY/NJ Hitmen Press Release 7
Press Release 7
NY/NJ Hitmen mini-camp news and notes
December 13

Anthony DiCosmo knows what it’s like to belong to a team. He’s played football on all levels, from high school at nearby Paramus (NJ) Catholic High School - where he was an All-American - to a starring role as a wide receiver at Boston College, and briefly with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

While most athletes today thank God or some higher power for their athletic achievements, DiCosmo is grateful to his adoptive mother - not for his ability - but for his opportunity.

DiCosmo was born to a teenage mother who was unable to care for him. Petrina DiCosmo, then 65, took Anthony in as a foster child and after overcoming several legal hurdles, adopted the young man.

“Everything I’ve achieved in life is because of my mom (Petrina),” DiCosmo said following today’s afternoon practice session at Kean University in Union, NJ. “Without her taking a chance on me, I never would have achieved my goal of playing professional football, and I wouldn’t be with the XFL today. Young kids dream all the time, but without strong parental support in the home, their dreams can never be fulfilled. Mom believed in me and showed me the love and guidance that I needed growing up.”

DiCosmo is not alone. Petrina DiCosmo, now 81, has fostered more than 65 children during her lifetime, an example that has left a lasting impression upon the wide receiver. DiCosmo spent this past fall as a volunteer coach with the nationally ranked Hackensack (NJ) High School football team that finished undefeated and No. 1 in the state. In addition, he acts as a mentor for underprivileged youths and speaks to youth groups whenever possible.

Despite missing the HITMEN’s first mini-camp in November, DiCosmo has drawn praise from offensive coordinator Ron Calcagni for his ability to pick up the nuances of the offense and for his precise routes and sure hands during workouts.

“I’m living proof that it (achieving your dreams) can be done,” DiCosmo said. “All you have to do is set your goals and focus and don’t let people tell you that you can’t do something.”

Although the freezing temperatures that were forecasted for the New York/New Jersey area did not materialize on Tuesday, head trainer Keith Abrams could have used an ice pick, or at least an extra heating pad before the morning practice.

One of the student assistant trainers filled the water supply systems before the A.M. workout, as is custom, but mistakenly placed it outside. In the course of an hour, the system was frozen solid and was brought back inside the locker room and given a warm shower to thaw.

The HITMEN would be prudent to follow that remedy on Wednesday when freezing rain is expected during the day. Otherwise, all that’s missing from the human popsickle recipe is some food coloring and sugar.

Since this is the first time the entire 70-man roster has been together, the coaching staff is not alone in their efforts to become acquainted with the players.

It seems that the HITMEN have formed an unofficial “players lounge” in the Kean University auxiliary gym. Players congregate on the gym floor before the morning and afternoon workouts, where they relax, stretch and share war stories of their football experiences.

“It’s an opportunity to hang out with the guys,” said offensive guard David Camacho. “We tell our tall tales about football, life and of course, women. It’s a good way to learn about your teammates.”

Although Day 2 mini-camp workouts were again conducted in helmets and sweats, there was plenty of contact when the offense and defense squared off against each other during drills. The combination of increased testosterone levels and fierce competition for roster spots led to more than a few scuffles, especially between the offensive and defensive linemen.

“The guys were banging each other around hard,” coach Edwin Bailey observed. “From the sounds of things, you would think that we were in full pads.”

Wide out Obidiah Cooper made two acrobatic catches during 7-on-7 drills, while defensive back Tyree Talton stood out for his coverage skills, blanketing HITMEN receivers and breaking up several pass attempts.

Linebacker Ben Hanks dropped a sure interception during the full scrimmage, but Tim Beauchamp made the most of his opportunity to get his hands on the ball. The defensive end picked off a Kevin Mason screen pass with one hand and took it 40-yards to the house for a score.

While Beauchamp’s defensive teammates celebrated, fellow defensive end Israel Raybon was visibly upset. “I just left the field,” Raybon said to the winded Beauchamp, with tongue in cheek. “You made that play because I was out, otherwise I’m the one reporters want to talk to.”

Something tells us that Raybon will search out a microphone or notepad to get a word in, no matter who makes a play.

The HITMEN will hold mini-camp practices each day throughout the week (Wednesday-Sunday) at 8:30-10:00 a.m. and 12:30-2:30 p.m. All practices are open to the public and media. Please note: There will be no afternoon session on Sunday. Please note that practice times may change due to weather.

Notes from - [Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5]


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